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Taking Refuge

Late in the summer my nearly decade-long relationship ended in the painful and tender way of recognizing that we had simply grown apart. WIth few words, I found myself adrift as one of my main sources of companionship, identity, and sanctuary shifted into a new and unfamiliar relationship of quietly respecting unspoken boundaries and celebrating newfound independence.


On the surface, our lives often appear steady - our jobs may be reliable, our health good, our families well-provided for, our resources adequate, and we may think all this gives us sufficient reason for considering ourselves secure. To understand the need for refuge we must learn to see our position as it really is; that is, to see it accurately and against its total background. Bodies age and break. Circumstances change. Money comes and goes. Relationships shift and sometimes crumble. Shit happens. Innevitably, when all things fall away in their own time, it might feel like we have nothing left.


These transitions, should we choose to hold them with compassion, teach us differently. With sobering clarity, we can observe the unfolding beauty of learning to trust our own heart - our capacity to be with both the immensely wonderful and difficult things life serves us. Through the act of gathering together, it gives space for the generosity and often unspoken support of our fellow yogis. It teaches us the importance and effect of choosing to act, live, and relate with integrity, compassion and kindness towards ourselves and others. We learn with ever-deepening certitude that we can take refuge in our own heart, our community, and our path. With this softness, we can learn from whatever is in front of us without closing our hearts to the beauty of this complicated, precious life.


Opportunity in every moment is waiting for you, for us, for me.


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Photography by Erin X. Smithers © 2020

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